National

U.S.
6:56 am
Sat January 5, 2013

Mississippi's Low Water Levels Could Bar Barges

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 9:59 am

Barge traffic on the Mississippi River could grind to a halt in the next few days. Water levels on the nation's largest waterway are very low in certain parts of the river because of the most severe drought in decades. Guest host Linda Wertheimer talks to Mark Fletcher of Ceres Barge Line about how the shipping industry is coping with the lack of rain.

Sports
6:56 am
Sat January 5, 2013

NFL Playoffs Kick Off In A Season Of Rookies

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 9:59 am

The NFL playoffs get underway this weekend with four wildcard games. Three rookie quarterbacks are leading teams into the playoffs, and Baltimore Raven veteran Ray Lewis plays his last home game. Monday, Notre Dame faces Alabama in the college national championship game. Guest host Linda Wertheimer speaks with Howard Bryant of ESPN about these crucial games.

Author Interviews
6:56 am
Sat January 5, 2013

'The King Years': An Intersection Of Race And Politics

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 9:59 am

President Obama will be publicly sworn in for a second term on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a notable confluence of events. Historian Taylor Branch joins guest host Linda Wertheimer to talk about race and democracy, past and present. Branch's new book is The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement.

Economy
5:27 am
Sat January 5, 2013

Long-Term Unemployed Seem To Be Staying That Way

Alecia Warthen, 43, has been unemployed since April. She says she's applied for more than 100 jobs and has received only four interviews and no offers.
Ailsa Chang NPR

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 12:42 pm

The latest figures show December was another month of steady, moderate job growth. But for many people still struggling with long-term unemployment, the situation hasn't actually changed much at all.

For Alecia Warthen, the last eight months have been painfully stagnant.

She was the first person in her family to finish college, after growing up in one of the roughest sections of Brooklyn. She had earned an accounting degree and worked as a bookkeeper for most of the last decade.

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U.S.
5:26 am
Sat January 5, 2013

Illinois Claws At Mountain Of Unfunded Pension Liability

Illinois union members and supporters rally at the state Capitol on Thursday against legislation that would try to control the state's pension-fund shortfall by, in part, reducing pension benefits.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 1:45 pm

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The Two-Way
5:12 am
Sat January 5, 2013

Big Quake Off Southern Alaska Coast Causes Tsunami

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 2:12 pm

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 hit off the coast of southeastern Alaska just before midnight local time Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The USGS initially reported the event as a magnitude 7.7 quake.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says sea level readings indicate the quake caused a tsunami. "It may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicenter," a NOAA report said.

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On Aging
5:58 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Baby Boomers' Last Wishes: Motorcycle Hearses And Facebook Obits

Lew Bird says that before passing away, his friend requested that his funeral include one last ride on a motorcycle.
Peter Gray for NPR

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 7:02 pm

Old Aristocracy Hill isn't a part of Springfield, Ill., that draws a lot of attention. The quiet neighborhood dates back to before the Civil War, its historic homes now carefully preserved by proud business owners.

But outside a stately funeral home, a large black-and-chrome Harley Davidson motorcycle trike pulls out of the parking lot, towing a matching casket in its glass-sided trailer.

It's not something you would expect to see, but it's exactly what 67-year-old Lew Bird says his friend Dave Rondelli wanted: one last ride.

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Around the Nation
4:53 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Foreigners Visiting 'Birth Hotels' In California Draw Local Ire

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 7:02 pm

Audie Cornish talks to Cindy Chang of the Los Angeles Times about the proliferation of so-called "birthing hotels" — homes in residential neighborhoods set up for foreign women, mostly Chinese, to come stay while they wait to give birth in the U.S. While it's not illegal to travel to the U.S. while pregnant, some of the "hotel" operators are breaking zoning and building ordinances, raising the ire of neighbors.

Business
4:52 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Electric Companies Surprising Winners In New Tax Package

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 7:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. The new last-minute tax deal cobbled together by Congress and the White House has produced at least one surprise winner, electric companies. That's because the two sides agreed not to increase the taxes that most people pay on dividends. NPR's Elizabeth Shogren explains why that is welcome news to the electricity business.

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Politics
4:51 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Potential Geithner Departure Could Complicate Debt Ceiling Battle

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 7:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

President Obama may be going into the next big budget fight without his long-time treasury secretary. Timothy Geithner had been planning to leave before the start of the president's second term, but that would mean he is departing with the debt ceiling still looming and the Treasury scrambling to keep up with the government's bills.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

NPR's Scott Horsley joins us now. And, Scott, Secretary Geithner has made no secret of his plans to leave the government, but it sounds like his departure could be complicated.

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